The Nectarine

By Sarah Hirsch

Eating a ripe nectarine in January,
looking out onto the snow-covered deck,
I have never felt more the duplicity of Earth.
The taste of sun-ripened, sweet flesh
Feels so distant from reality.
My pale skin is jealous of this fruit:
It has seen more of the Sun than I’ve seen in months
And likely more of the world than I ever will.

The Sun pulls the South Pole to him in their annual embrace—
A finicky lover, demanding another when I need it most.
In a few months, we will reconcile our differences,
But by mid-summer its warmth will overwhelm me
And I’ll wish again for winter’s remote solitude,
Far removed from heat’s passionate and inescapable grip.
Although both predictable in annual pattern,
We never remain content together for long.

The pit is all that’s left of the syrupy nectarine,
And in the moment, I long for enough sunshine
o germinate the life that it contains inside.
But in the reality of my blooming July garden,
I will have already grown tired of caring for the plants—
Feeling suffocated by the obligations tying me down.
Only in my subconscious remembering how I’ll miss them
Once I’m looking at my snow-covered deck in January.